Our lives here on earth can be measured by the ticking of clocks or the beating of our hearts. The heart beats a steady rhythm when healthy and varies in response to our immediate, changing needs. Everyone1s heart, like everyone1s life, is different; we all march to the beat of our own drum. Although our perception of time can vary according to how rushed – or relaxed – we feel, astronomers assure us that time itself never deviates from the precise and unwavering dance of measured steps evidenced by the progression of the sun and planets. Linear time is constant and predictable, but our attitudes can powerfully affect our experience of it and our ability to receive its lessons and gifts. People do not usually set out with the deliberate intent of becoming sick, yet many blindly accept the concept that debility is an inevitable fact of old age. With this attitude already in place, what further occurs to ultimately bring many of us to this state of chronic debility? How does our false belief system influence the way in which we conduct our lives, and what are the consequences? We can divide lifestyles into three general categories: healthy, unhealthy and therapeutic. A healthy lifestyle is a nurturing one, which encourages balance and harmony. An unhealthy lifestyle is one which ignores the wisdom and warnings of the body until the consequences become so dire that emergency measures are required to maintain homeostasis. (Then, if people still fail to realize the errors of their approach, they continue to make every effort to maintain the lifestyle that is bringing about their ruin, using powerful medications, surgery and whatever other means are available to them.) A therapeutic lifestyle makes the effort to break unhealthy patterns and transform them into healthy ones. Once these new patterns are established, wellness is maintained through the healthy lifestyle, and we have come full circle. This concept can be applied at all levels of our lives: to the physical, through diet and exercise; to the emotional and a a a a a mental, through education and creative endeavours, and to the spiritual, through reflection and self-realization. Herein lies a holistic program for a truly healthy life.
How long does it take to transform an unhealthy life into a healthy one? We must first ask: “How long did it take to become unwell, and how far off course did we stray?” Intentional effort, intelligently applied, can move us quickly back on track, although within certain limits. We are limited by the laws of nature, and by our own individual nature. Applying the principle of self-healing, we can gauge approximately how long it will take tissues to regenerate if we are well informed about where we are starting from and know how much effort we are willing to put in over time. We must, however, be prepared to also adjust our attitudes to embrace patience, faith and humility, and not expect immediate change. If urgent life-sustaining measures are not required and it is safe to embark on a lifestyle-based path to wellness, we have many allies available to us. Enter our friends, the herbs. Ideally we will never stray so far from wellness that we cannot be brought back into balance with the help of our natural medicines. But the further we move from the balance point to any extreme, the greater the counterbalance needed to return to equilibrium. The more urgent the circumstance, the less time we have to regain our balance, and the more aggressive and intrusive the “cure”, whether it be medical, surgical, or use of the more powerful herbal remedies. Let us look to time as a teacher, and accept the lesson of obedience to natural laws as our first effort at living a truly healthy life. The natural tides of the body move slowly, and our precious plant medicines grow and gain their healing power in harmony with the greater rhythms of life. As we are committed to walking the path of wisdom and responsibility, the gift of wellness will be ours.